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Falling Out or Overdose?

If you have ever been involved with heroin you probably have witnessed an overdose or maybe even overdosed yourself; to others who haven’t seen someone overdosing would probably find it to be a really scary situation.  To me, seeing someone overdose is somewhat normal or should I say it’s like seeing an epileptic person have a seizure.  There are procedures that have to be carefully taken in order to save the person.  Sometimes we get lucky and after a few minutes the person comes to and is unaware of anything that happened and they continue on without any fears or worries of it happening again.  Usually, when they do not require CPR or narcan, we call it “falling out” instead of overdosing.  When a person overdoses and needs medical attention and narcan, it’s very easy to know the difference, although, a lot of people still seem to not know the true signs of overdose compared to just “falling out.”  For instance, foaming at the mouth, blue lips, eyes rolling back or eyes are glossy and still, (I call it the death stare) also they will make a gurgling noise, it’s coming from their throat, (that’s called death rattle) and of course they are unresponsive; these are all signs of a fatal overdose.  Now here’s the issue I have with people who are dealing with a friend or family member, putting ice up their anus or vagina and putting them in a tub of freezing water does not work!  It’s critical to know when it is time to call 911!  Also, another issue, if the cops arrive they are not going to charge you with anything just because you called to get help for the victim.  If you have a warrant or something else that you are afraid of going to jail over then just help the person by calling 911 and leave as soon as you hear sirens, don’t just let them die over fear of jail.  I have lost two cousins to overdose because their own family feared that they may go to jail or the victim would if 911 was called.  Now those family members have to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives.  I rather spend my time in jail or visit them in jail, oppose to going to their funeral and know I did the right thing to keep my friend or family member alive.

Later I will definitely be sharing the stories of my two cousins in hopes that their stories will raise awareness of the seriousness of overdose.  I personally have never overdosed, I just had a “falling out,” several times.  Each time I woke up I was soak and wet from my husband pouring ice-cold water over my face and head.  I did not know what had happened and usually just lit up a cigarette and carried on as if nothing happened.  My husband would be white as a ghost in tears and angry at me because he was scared and ready to make that 911 call.  He didn’t want to call 911 because I had a warrant and he knew I would go to jail, but he had learned from me that my life was more important and jail was better than me dying.  I just hope people could stop fearing getting charged with a felony or getting picked up on a warrant and start fearing for their friend or family members life.  People die of overdose usually because someone fails to call for help.  People need to learn the laws to know what their rights are.  It’s time to stop the ignorance and get our shit together.  I am tired of losing people to this drug. My advice to those still actively using is to carry narcan at all times, and know how to use it.  Narcan is free and available at your local health department.  Also, never use alone; I know this may be a hard one for some especially those who live at home with their parents and have to sneak around to use.  Think about how your family would feel having to find you dead in your room or bathroom, it would be devastating and very traumatic.  Also your “friends” that you are using around, ask yourself, do you trust them to save your life?  Most likely they’ll run if they have any chances of going to jail if the police show up; so it’s probably something you need to consider and discuss with them so you get a sense of how much they really care about your well-being.  You also need to let them know about your narcan and give them a little lesson on how to administer it in case of an overdose.  My best advice to anyone using heroin is to seek help, reach out to someone, find a detox, and go to treatment.  The heroin you are using is probably not even heroin, fentanyl is now the new “heroin” and is causing more deaths from overdose than pure heroin. Don’t be another statistic, surrender to your addiction and get into recovery.  You are not alone, there is someone who will help you and who will show you a better way; you though are the one who has to want the help.  I hope that this topic about overdose is helpful to those reading, after all that is my purpose here, to help addicts and their families.  Stay safe and don’t lose hope.PinyCreators_636767035014378295

Today is a Beach….

Today I am finding it hard to have any energy to get anything started much less completed. Finding the strength to even write about the lack of energy is tiring. These are the days that are the hardest, as an addict, to get through without having a thought of using just to feel better. I suffer from severe depression and Rheumatoid Arthritis; both conditions cause me to have terrible days of feeling fatigue, sadness, severe anxiety, and chronic pain with inflammation and swelling in my wrist, hands, and other joints. On days like this I do not want to get out of bed. Functioning like a normal person is a challenge for me. The RA is a bitch, it limits my ability to do simple things, like open a jar, or squeezing a bottle of shampoo when I wash my hair. I am only 37 and I have had a total knee replacement on my left knee. My ability to run, jump, ride a bike, dance or kneel on my knees is very painful and limited. Being an addict living with these conditions is like craving an ice cream sundae but can’t because of having a milk allergy. I am not able to take the RA medications because of the damage I have done to my liver from contracting Hepititas C.  My options for pain relief are either steroids, opiates or anti-inflammatories.  My drug of choice is opiates; percocet or vicodin were like my happy pills that allowed me to get up and go, when I was high on pain pills I was able to LIVE. Some of my friends and family who use pain pills or heroin like to nod and pass out. Not me I was the one cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking care of everyone else. When I was without my “happy pills” I was sick, going through withdraw and severely depressed. So that’s about the time I began to snort heroin; the drug that destroyed my life and took everything I loved and cherished. It is difficult staying clean because of my RA pain; living with chronic pain is depressing. I know I cannot take pain medication but I am not going to lie, it’s tempting as hell, especially when I have a RA flare up, or when I feel hopeless and sad. After my knee surgery I took my pain medication as directed, and I managed to only get one refill. After recovering from the knee replacement I somehow was able to stay clean from opiates, but I began to use other drugs, like alcohol and gabapentin; hell I even smoked weed. My life was unmanageably miserable, and stagnant.

How can a heroin addict like me make it through a day like today?  I try to take it day by day even minute by minute.  To be honest I am freaking out, I am so afraid that this is what my life will always be like; miserable, disabled, unable to change or grow. Will I ever feel good when I wake up to start a new day? Will my depression and pain ever become manageable?  How can I ever be a fully functioning mother and wife? I can barely lift a 5 pound sack of potatoes, so how can I pick up my child when she needs comforted or wants to just be held in my arms?  Fuck these days, I am just so fed up with feeling like shit, feeling like I am crippled; thinking that my life is hopeless, and believing that giving up is my only option. On these bad days I feel alone, yet I choose to isolate, there is no one who understands or cares. As I am typing these thoughts and feelings I am beginning to see that all these worries, all these thoughts are a sign of my self-pity.  When I feel like this I know what I need to do, I am battling the addict in me.  It’s like we are two different people living in the same body.  The addict is a weak, manipulating, lying, scared little bitch.  Me, myself, Brandy, well I am not weak, because I did get my ass out of bed, I did call my support person when I felt that taking a pill or snorting a line was my only option to escape the pain and the depression. I took a walk around the block, which loosened up my stiff painful joints.  I also took a look around at the beautiful signs of Fall; appreciating nature and the outdoors gave me a sense of peace.  I also began to count my blessings and be grateful.  It is a miracle I am alive, and there is a reason for my existence. Then as the day passes I feel content and I stay busy. Even though I do not have my children back, I still am their mother and I have to continue living for them. If I focus on my goals I’ve set and work at reaching them each day, I will be a better mom, I will have my children back. I may be limited physically but I am so mentally strong that I cannot allow my pain to control my life. I just tell myself today is a little shitty, but tomorrow is going to be great.  I am strong, I am brave, I am smart, and I am loved.  If I don’t continue to fight the addict, if a I fall for her tricks and her weakness I will never make it, I will die.  FUCK today, I hate you Wednesday, Oct. 31!  Tomorrow, I welcome you to shine on me so bright bring me good fortune and may GOD’s will lead me to my destination of serenity, hope and victory!  I am not the addict, I am Brandy, I am a mother, a sister, a friend, and I am a Fighter!  “Today will be history and tomorrow will be a mystery”, as my grandfather always said.

Many of you can probably relate to how I am feeling, addicts or not, we all have bad days. I believe if we can just set aside all the crap that is bothering us on days like this and take a minute to breathe and make a list of things we are grateful for we can then see the humility of it and regain the strength we need to change our negative thinking into positive actions.  Don’t let one bad day determine the rest of your life.  For an addict this is critical advice; using one more time could mean our life. That phone you carry in your hand, pocket or purse 24/7 has to have at least one contact you can call for support; a person who can help you get through those 15 minutes of “fuck its” or those 2 hours of “I can’t do this shit!”  Don’t give up, tomorrow could be the best damn day of your life!

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Starting Over: What is a normal life?

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What is a normal life? Being an addict it seems so difficult to return to a “normal life”. I think about my life before it became unmanageable; I had a great job, a nice house that felt like a home. I was a super mom, my kids were happy and had stability and security, I taught them morals and values, went beyond the limits and made birthdays and holidays exciting and memorable. We had family traditions that we looked forward to every year. I worked at an early childhood learning center for many years, my kids went to work with me and I was so grateful to have that luxury. My job was my life, my second home. The woman I worked with were my friends, they were like my family. In the year of 2000 I started as a teacher and worked with all ages from 6 weeks old babies to 12-year-old adolescents, teaching was my passion for many years; in 2006 I was promoted to a supervisor/educational coordinator position. I put my all into the center; the business meant a lot to me. But thinking back I realized how much I was faking and hiding the truth about my depression and life at home. That’s where it all went bad. My husband was also hiding and faking his role as a father and a husband. He hid his addiction from me until 2012 when I became addicted to Vicodin after breaking my foot.  Ultimately until the drugs became a problem, my life was manageable and like many others lives, we lived pay check to pay check and had problems that were swept under the rug in order to thrive and give our children a home with both parents. That’s what society considered what a normal middle class family should look like. But the truth is that normal life was miserable at home and eventually the misery followed me at work.

 

Looking back is the worst thing I should do when moving forward. Getting back into that so-called normal life is not the life I want today as a recovering addict. In rehab we were taught that keeping it simple is the way to recovering and starting over.  That is the only thing I took from my 38 days in rehab. I have tried ever since to work and provide, but I still haven’t reached my goals to get a job I enjoy and a house I can finally call home, and most importantly reunite with my children. Its been three years and I am just now beginning to make the changes and take the steps to reaching my fullest potential. Working at a 9-5 job Monday through Friday is not what makes me happy.  I feel like I have figured out the way to getting my life back, the answer is simple; stop looking back stop wishing I had my old life back. That past life is the reason why I became an addict at 31 years old. So I am looking forward and I am going after the things I want out of life. Writing is my escape, my coping with the urge to just say “fuck it I am done.”  Figuring out my purpose in life was easy once I stopped feeling hopeless and depressed. My purpose is to help others; I believe God choose this path for me to gain experience , knowledge, and wisdom to understand the disease of addiction so I can share and teach other addicts. That is why I am writing a blog about my daily struggles living as an addict.  I always dreamed of being a writer, an author, a journalist something that allows me to share my thoughts, opinions, and experiences. Starting over does not scare me like it did before; I was afraid of failure, and losing my kids again because of relapse. I now enjoy the thought that I can be a writer, having my books published, and helping others understand and relate to this disease that has to be maintained daily and all the while earn money doing it.  A lot of people who are addicts that I’ve met throughout my years of active addiction are brilliant, talented, smart, kind, and loyal people. If only they could see their potential, and figure out their life purpose, they could recover and live a great life. It takes a lot of support from our families to believe in us, to encouraged and motivate us. Also I believe that connections and bonds with people who have experienced the lifestyle of addiction is a huge part of recovery. My point is I will never go back to my past life, I will never live a normal life, because I am not a normal average person.  I am starting to live a fulfilling life.  Following my dreams, believing the sky is the limit. I am a better and stronger person because of the shit I’ve been through. I am a survivor, a warrior and I will achieve my goals, start a new life that has no limits or barriers.  I am working hard to make my kids proud and to give them a new Super Better Mom. Adjusting and growing is what we have to endure and we will gain strength to rise up and live again.  Don’t give up, if you fall get back up, live your life how you want without substance and remember to always be grateful and humble yourself daily.

Finding Myself

Today I want to show some gratitude! It’s weird me being the one with a clear head and positive disposition on life. Because you’re my friend, I can’t say I got this, because for one, each day is a struggle and for two I can easily fall back into my self-pity any day and relapse. The outlook is good so far. I’m just grateful to have a person who has made me feel like the old me before my life went to shit going on 6 years ago. I thought I was lost forever, stuck, and had to settle with the an unhealthy marriage and a lifestyle of a drug addict. I was hopelessly sleep walking through the oblivious darkness of what I thought was meant to be my life. I always wished for a happy ending, like Sleeping Beauty, my Prince would come kiss me awake, rescue me from the evil queen and we’d live happily ever after. I was told I was being unrealistic, delusional, and irrational by people who believed in only the things that they could physically prove would work, like rehab, NA, medications etc. I’m not claiming those things do not work, I’m just saying I’m not crazy when I say human connection, love, a simple act of reuniting with an old friend has been the most effective treatment for my depression and addiction recovery. Therefore, in result I no longer feel the need to lay in bed all day until I find a buzz of some sort. In the last 5 weeks I have had two days where I laid in bed, neither had to do with depression or using. I haven’t looked forward to getting up in the morning since 2011. For the first time in years I’ve had no guilt shame or regret about anything I’ve been through or have done. Remorse is my new emotion for my past mistakes. So, my wish for a fairy tale ending wasn’t so crazy after all. I just needed to be seen through the eyes of someone who truly loved me. I needed to witness an act of sacrifice from a human being and his actions have been consistent, nothing has been changed since the day I reunited with him. There has not been one single sign that this is bullshit or that it is lust. Believe me when I say I’ve tried to find a flaw, a sign anything to prevent me from letting my guard down and I, like many mentally ill people, always try to sabotage my own happiness in fear of it being vulnerable to rejection and pain. This is my recovery this is what is working for me. I know there are still many obstacles to overcome, and I honestly am so ready for it to get difficult because I’m no longer afraid to face them. I want to try hard and if I fall I believe I can get back up and try again. If I can prove this to be true I would because this world has given up on the power of love; it has many ways of healing the sick, the sad, the damaged, and the evillest things in this world. Isn’t that what God is? Love? I hope everyone close to me will be able to witness this miracle I’ve experienced. A true miracle from God. People that come and go in our lives are meant to be, they are the miracles that are chosen to influence and teach us life lessons, good or bad, the timing is impeccable and even way off but planned by God. I asked myself if he isn’t my soulmate and indeed is just an old friend who may come and go, will I return to my old lifestyle and wallow in self-pity again? I refuse to return to that, I will not go back. You see, my point is, yes God placed him in the right place at the right time because God knew what I needed to feel that love of a man and be reminded I’m worthy of being loved. He has made me feel important by listening to my story, showing me empathy without pity, telling me his story, and most of all showing me what he sees when he looks at me. He doesn’t see a victim of abuse or assault, or a woman that’s weak and vulnerable. he doesn’t see a drug addict or a worthless mother, or a cold and bitter person. He pointed out that it was amazing to see how I continue to care for others, especially after being hurt so many times. I said well that’s my weakness, I’m so invested in helping others I can’t even help myself. But that’s where I’m wrong, it’s not a weakness! It takes a strong person to find the will to help others when I needed help. I always say I was drowning, and no one cared to jump in and save me! That’s my self-pity talking when as I was trying to swim to safety I was saving others who were drowning then returning to the same deep waters only to repeat again and again. This realization was amazingly an eye opener; and all that swimming pulling dead weight to shore was building up massive amounts of strength but tiring me out. In changing the way, I thought about the situation I was able to look at many other things in different perspectives. I truly believe with every bit of my heart that he is my soulmate even if he’s temporarily here for the moment or the rest of our lives, but regardless he gave me the greatest gift ever; the ability to see my true self. The people around me seem to see a shift and have little to say yet sadly they too are unable to move forward and recover fully. Yet maybe they have seen the changes and some have spoken words in negativity, but I am not listening to the muffled whispering it doesn’t phase me, nor does the doubt that any may have about my change in moods, men, or hairstyles. I can no longer be influenced by those under the influence and I’m not trying to look or act a certain way for the acceptance of others. My purpose in life is to teach to mentor to coach the people who come to me in need. My writings are one way I want to reach out and help those like me. It just so happens to be that being a writer is possible, anything is possible if you really want it. I am glad I choose to share it with you! Even if you aren’t a dreamer like I am and do not believe in the fairy tale endings. You are my friend and if you are in need,I hope you find my blog to be inspiring. Your response and your feedback would be forever appreciated. Have a wonderful morning and remember to try a little love in your heart, today could be the beginning of your happily ever after but you’ll never know if you don’t get out there and start living. I dedicate this to my Gramps in loving memory, Lindy Lee Mann